Civil society call for China-led development bank to foster green growth

The newly-launched, and China-led, Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) needs to act transparently and help the environment and vulnerable populations, says a coalition of NGOs

The AIIB, touted as a rival to multilateral banks led by countries such as the US, EU countries and Japan, should enshrine strong safeguards to protect both people and the environment, a coalition of around 250 non-governmental organisations said in a letter to the bank’s head.

In an open letter to Jin Liqun, Secretary-General of the AIIB, the NGOs said they hoped “robust social and environmental standards will be applied in the principles, policies and actual operations of the AIIB,” amid uncertainty about how green the lending criteria will be for the China-led bank.

The danger is that a new bank will pay too much attention to the returns on its investments, rather than social and environmental impacts, Yu Xiaogang, head of Chinese NGO Green Watershed, told chinadialogue.
The AIIB is expected to announce more about its policies and rules in June.
The letter calls for the AIIB to respect local cultures, faiths and knowledge; protect the local environment and biodiversity; and to ensure lending decisions are transparent.
Analysts say that new infrastructure such as new roads, railways and power plants are the most likely to spark social and environmental disputes.
But if nations with high standards can stick to them, problems could be averted. Michael Clauss, Germany’s ambassador to China, told media that “the AIIB will operate according to high standards. If its environmental standards weren’t the same as Germany’s we wouldn’t have become a founding member.”